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Manchester arts organisations join forces to create jobs for young people

The 40 Kickstart roles cover all aspects of the industry - with jobs including Manchester International Festival, HOME and Contact

Leading arts organisations in Greater Manchester have joined forces to create job opportunities for 40 young people (aged 19-24), who are currently unemployed or claiming Universal credit – with more to come over the next few months.

The roles are funded by the government Kickstart Scheme, which was launched in September 2020 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in response to the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the jobs market and young people.

The GM Cultural Consortium, which includes Manchester International Festival (MIF), the Royal Exchange, Contact, The Lowry, and HOME, took part in a joint application led by MIF’s The Factory Academy, Cultural & Creative Skills and Curious Minds, to successfully secure funding for the 40 Kickstart roles.

The Kickstart roles will commence over the next few months and cover all aspects of the industry.

MIF is offering ten roles in sponsorship, press, producing, marketing, sustainability, touring, community engagement, skills and training and artist liaison in the lead up to and during MIF21 (1st-18th July); HOME is offering eight new roles in marketing, customer services, fundraising, IT, environmental sustainability and building maintenance as part of its Work Based Training programme; and twelve roles at Contact will span creative development and marketing/digital communications, front of house and operations/facilities.

In advance of the Kickstart jobs roll-out, MIF has already engaged with 50 Kickstart-eligible students who have taken part in pre-employment training as part of its skills and training programme, The Factory Academy.

The DWP-approved course featured sessions on leadership and navigating change and is designed to help support them in their next steps in the creative sector.

Ten students from this cohort will be selected for the Kickstart roles at MIF, with many others being matched to other roles as they become available.

Kickstart employers across the region will also be able to benefit from ‘Kickstart Creative’, a new wraparound programme created by The Factory Academy to complement the government’s Kickstart Scheme.

The programme provides learning and personal development opportunities and is designed to boost students’ employability and self-confidence both during and beyond their six-month employment.

Jocelyne Underwood, skills and training director at MIF and The Factory, says: “We’re thrilled to have worked together with our partners in the region to help secure these roles for young people in the city.

“This collaborative approach is a key part of our vision to put skills and training opportunities at the heart of The Factory.

“Over the next five years we’re creating thousands more training opportunities with the aim of opening up the creative sector to the widest pool of talent and helping to equip young people with skills that will be useful post-COVID.”

Dave Moutrey, director of culture, Manchester City Council and director and Chief Executive of HOME said: “Greater Manchester has a history of cultural organisations working together to provide platforms for young people to develop their skills and experience.

“These Kickstart roles offer new opportunities for young people to build their confidence and skills in a dynamic industry, and the wide range of roles available across the scheme reflects the diversity of skills and experience employed within cultural organisations.

“Importantly, the scheme also provides a pipeline for the sector to access new talent and ideas – at a time when this has never been more valuable.”

Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive of The Lowry in Salford, said: “This is a great example of arts organisations across Greater Manchester working together to open-up the industry to new talent.

“The successful Kickstart applicants will bring with them fresh perspectives on how the sector should reinvent itself post-COVID.

“In that spirit, The Lowry is already consulting with our local community on specifically which areas of our business Kickstart positions should be based to amplify those new voices.”

Sheralee Lockhart, director of business and operations at Royal Exchange Theatre said: “A thriving cultural industry has always been part of Greater Manchester’s history, and what better way to ensure a dynamic future than to open-up skills and training opportunities for young people from across the region.

“We are delighted to be working with our peers to offer a real variety of Kickstart roles across the theatre which highlight the diversity of skills across our industry.”

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